LGBTI community appeals to churches to refrain from homophobic statements

By Drum Digital
30 January 2017

Following the silent protest yesterday by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community at Grace Bible Church in Soweto, the organisation is calling on churches to refrain from making homophobic and hateful statements.

“We are kindly asking senior church leaders across the country to look into ensuring that their churches refrain from making statements, while they are dealing with issues of their sexuality,” said Lelo Mayisela in a statement sent to DRUM.

Mayisela added that such statements lead to hate crimes, discrimination, prejudice, suicide and homelessness of a lot of people,  “as members of the broader community see it as fine to subject members of the LGBTI community and gender non-conforming people to hatred, appearing as though, churches endorse such statement”.

The protest was because of a statement made by a guest Bishop Dag Heward-Mills two weeks ago during his sermon saying that homosexuality was unnatural.

“Churches should be the safe space and institution promoting love and care. It is painful and hurtful when church becomes the perpetrator and promoters of hate and violence. We hope that churches receive our messages well, as it comes from a good heart and respect of the Christian faith,” Mayisela said.

The organisation also wants Grace Bible Church to apologise but it seems they are fighting a lost battle with the church.

We spoke to Dr Ezekiel Mathole, the Grace Bible Church spokesperson, and he stated that the church knows nothing about the memorandum.

“No one submitted any memo with the church nor was an appointment made with the church,” he said adding that the Bishop addressed the statement of faith shared during the service, which is now available on YOUTUBE.

The statement said, “our view when it comes to marriage or relationship, we take a biblical view that it must be a male and female, but what people do has nothing to do with us. They don't need our endorsement.”

“There’s nothing much to add to the statement,” Mathole said.

See video of statement below

 

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